University of Northampton vice chancellor says EU exit will create ‘significant challenges’

University of Northampton vice chancellor Nick Petford

University of Northampton vice chancellor Nick Petford

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The vice chancellor of the University of Northampton said the outcome of the EU referendum will create “significant challenges” for universities.

Following the Brexit vote this morning, Professor Nick Petford put out a message to students detailing the impact of any changes in Government policy.

Mr Petford, who was one of 103 university leaders to sign an open letter to voters calling for them to vote Remain, said: “Although this is not the outcome the sector had hoped for, we must ensure that we prepare for the new environment that will follow our exit from the EU. Of course many students will have concerns about the impact of the decision, and we will be working to seek clarity around some key aspects of the process.

“The UK will begin the process of exiting the European Union within the next few months. It has been made clear though, that when we activate Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, our withdrawal from the EU will take at least two years. “Barring unilateral action from the UK Government, the University has been advised that the vote to leave the European Union does not mean there will be any immediate material change to the immigration status of current and prospective EU students and staff.”

Mr Petford said EU students studying in the UK under the Erasmus programme, or UK students studying in the EU and elsewhere under Erasmus will see no change in their immigration status, and they will continue to be eligible for their Erasmus grant until at least as long as we remain a member of the EU, and could well be extended beyond this.

He said: “More than 1,000 international students from over 100 countries around the globe come to the University of Northampton each year. We have always believed that learning alongside peers from other countries and cultures is of tremendous benefit in developing us as individuals and as part of the global community.

“That belief remains, and as Vice Chancellor of the University of Northampton, I can assure you I will be drawing on the expertise within the institution and working with colleagues across the sector to ensure the best possible outcome for future generations wishing to enter into Higher Education in the UK.”